Know your craft beer: Key varieties

The key kinds every craft beer bluffer (or boffin) should know

Amber Ale
Confusingly, amber ale actually begins its life as a pale ale, but then crystal malt is added to produce a deep, coppery colour and add sweetness to the final brew. Hop to: James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale.

Bock
As German as a Bratwurst, this dark, malty beer is low on the hop front. It’s a compromise beer for people who like dark ales but want something more light and clear than a porter. Hop to: Red Hill Weizenbock.

IPA
India Pale Ales are super-hoppy (thanks to a secondary addition of the flowers during fermentation) and pack flavour in spades. They might be challenging but they’re also refreshing. Hop to: Little Creatures IPA.

Kölsch
This is Germany’s answer to a traditional Pale Ale. It hails 
from Cologne, and is a light, straw-coloured brew that is just the littlest bit sweet with clean, citrusy aromas. Hop to: 4 Pines Kölsch.

Lager
Lagers are like Swedes: blonde and genetically engineered for long sessions in the sun. They’re hard to make, and all about being subtle and clean. Hop to: Bright Brewery Bright Lager.

Pale Ale
Pale ales can vary dramatically, but traditionally they are brewed with lots of pale malts and are generally a light, bitter brew that you can sit on all day. Hop to: Little Creatures Pale Ale.

Pilsner
The very first pilsner ever brewed was Pilsner Urquell. We say raise a glass and down a little piece of beer history. Or take a run at its crafty sister. Hop to: Moo Brew Pilsener.

Porter
They’re dark as night and just a bit toasty from those dark malts, but often as not nowhere near as heavy or intense as you’d expect. In fact, they can be quite smashable. Hop to: Holgate Temptress.

Saison Beer
Traditionally adjusted in style to suit the season, these beers tend to be lighter in hot months and then get noticeably darker and heavier as the cool weather sets in. Hop to: Wayward Saison.

Stout
The term stout originally meant a beer had enough alcohol in it to get you dancing like Coyote Ugly. Now it is usually referring to porters like Guinness. Hop to: Nail Brewing Clout Stout.

Tripel Beer
It’s the deep and amber-coloured, super-boozy Belgian-style ale. The lolly syrup of beer, it’s typically 9% alcohol by volume. Whoah, Nelly... Hop to: La Trappe Tripel.

Wheat Beer
Drinking them is like being thrashed with the fresh branch. Nay – a whole bushell. You may also know them as hefeweizen, witbier or weissbier. Hop to: Burleigh Brewing Co.

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First published on 30 Sep 2013.

By Time Out Melbourne editors   |  
 

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